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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


March 03, 2003

NSA Intercepting UN Security Council Members' Private Communications

'Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war' (3/02/03 - The Observer)

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against
UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win
votes in favour of war against Iraq.

Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves
interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN
delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

...The [NSA] memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at...UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

...It was sent by Frank Koza, chief of staff in the 'Regional Targets' section of the NSA, which spies on countries that are viewed as strategically important for United States interests.

Koza specifies that the information will be used for the US's 'QRC' — Quick Response Capability — 'against' the key delegations.

Suggesting the levels of surveillance of both the office and home phones of UN delegation members, Koza also asks regional managers to make sure that their staff also 'pay attention to existing non-UN Security Council Member UN-related and domestic comms [office and home telephones] for anything useful related to Security Council deliberations'.

...[T]he surveillance operation [is] understood to have been requested by President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice...

The language and content of the memo were judged to be authentic by three former intelligence operatives shown it by The Observer. We were also able to establish that Frank Koza does work for the NSA and could confirm his senior post in the Regional Targets section of the organisation.

The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza's office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told 'You have reached the wrong number'.

On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza's extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up. (More...)

UPDATE: Just a week after The Observer ran it's story, British police confirmed that an unnamed 28 year old woman, an employee of Britain's electronic surveillance agency (GCHQ), has been arrested on suspicion of leaking the NSA memo in contravention of the Official Secrets Act. GCHQ confirms the woman is one of their employees. She has reportedly been released on bail. "More arrests are
expected," according to police. Meanwhile, UN sources confirmed that it has launched "a top-level investigation" into US spying on its delegates. But even as the scandal deepened, the main US news outlets have studiously ignored the story.

[Read the source...]

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